Ollie Fiddler impressed athletes and non-athletes

If you grew up in Minot in the heyday of fastpitch softball, you at least recognized the name Ollie Fiddler. He was in the news that much, or mentioned in conversations at barbershops, cafes and businesses – any place people discuss the news of the day and what impressed them about it.

And Fiddler, who died last week, was impressive. That’s for sure. Minot Daily News writer Kim Fundingsland, in one of his best efforts ever, reminded readers in Sunday’s edition just how gifted Fiddler was, how long he maintained his excellence on the mound and how he was revered by other players. Most of the players who recalled playing with or against Fiddler were big names themselves back in that era. Their comments were more like testaments to Fiddler’s skills, as well as to his humility.

But people who have never been to a ball game before much less a men’s fastpitch softball game admired Fiddler too. He was simply the talk of the town in his day, that “day” lasting decades.

One quote in Fundingsland’s story is priceless and pretty-much sums up the attention Fiddler is receiving once again, now that he is gone.

“When he came to Minot it raised the sport of fastpitch to another level, another world,” said Dale Olson, Fargo, a former Minoter and a former teammate of Fiddler. “Many nights a couple of thousand people would come out to see Ollie pitch. Mickey Mantle was my first hero but I couldn’t get enough of Ollie Fiddler.”

That would be a walk-off.